Even the lowly business card, a simple flimsy piece of cardboard with the most basic of information, has been transformed into a supercharged datastream on CD.
While the idea isn't new -- some have been using them for a few years -- you no longer need to have them mass produced at a factory.
It's now possible to buy software and a stack of blank rectangular mini-discs and burn your own business cards, brochures or whatever you want to use them for.
''These are fully functional CDs,'' says Andrew Carr, president of Cardiscs.com, a CD supplier. ''They hold the same types of information as a regular CD, but have 50 to 100 megs of storage space. Companies use them primarily for marketing purposes and put all the product and contact information on them.''
The information usually includes links to the company Web site or e-mail addresses of employees. The links are live if the person viewing it has an Internet connection.
These mini-CDs are often handed out by companies at trade shows. The featured product is the sole focus of the CD, which contains detailed information for prospective customers.
''The neat thing about them is that you can put them in your pocket and have them available to hand out at a moment's notice,'' says Carr.
The CDs have labels, which, if used as business cards, contain the same information as a normal paper card in most cases.
Do-it-yourselfers can even add Flash presentations to enhance their information.
''All you have to know how to do is type,'' says Carr. ''It's template-based, and there are 16 or 17 to choose from. You are only limited by the size limitations of the disc, but your viewers will get bored before you run out of space.''
The basic software package costs about $400, and discs are a few dollars each.
''You can put a catalog on these and save a bundle on paper,'' says Carr. ''It's also easy to make changes.'' How to reach: Cardiscs.com